Amondirwoth Patricia comes from Nebbi District., Abindu Ward Nyacara Village. She got married in 2006 as the second wife to her husband. She says that they stayed in marriage for ten years without any child and they opened up a business of selling second hand clothes. She says they even set up gardens and built a house in his village and she was peaceful in her marriage even though they brought her other five wives after her but all left.
Early December of 2016, she says that her husband in a jovial mood shared with her how he was planning to wed his first wife (Patricia’s co-wife). She says she got so much pain but she had no option but to set them free for the wedding on condition that he opened for her a small business that would make her survive, which he promised to do.
“Surprisingly one day, he came to my home and chased me out of the house and grabbed all the properties. I tried reporting the matter to his brother but all were in his support,” she explains. When Patricia realised that her husband was becoming so serous, she had no man in her support and she thought of going to probation office in search for justice.
Fortunately on her way to the probation office, she met two ladies; Oyenya Night-Religious Leader and Topista Munguriek-Opinion Leader (former field officer ACFODE) who were recently trained on women land and property rights by ACFODE with financial support from OXFAM. When she narrated to them what was happening, they stopped her from going to probation offices and told her that they could handle the case since they had just been trained in handling Land and property cases. “I had no option but to give them my husband’s number, when they called to meet my husband. He accepted to have a meeting with them but when he was told to hand back the land and properties, he refused and made fun of the ladies.” She narrated.
Luckily enough, Topista one of the ladies who went to meet her husband was close to the parish priest who was to wed them (her husband and the co-wife). She went straight to the priest and narrated what had happened and requested the priest not to wed them until the land and property issues were solved amicably. The parish priest then called her husband to resolve the matter in the presence of the two women (Topista and Oyenya Night).
“The man immediately called Oyenya night – catechist that he was ready to hand over everything back to me.” she said. The two ladies (Topista and Oyenya Night) with some elders plus relatives to the husband were around when the land and properties were being handled over to Patricia. She says she was so happy and the ladies advised her to sell off the land and buy another plot away from town which she did. She then bought a bigger plot in Akworo sub county of Nebbi though the documents were still being processed.
Patricia is very happy for what the two ladies did for her and she says she always prays for them. She now intends to open up a business in second hand clothes but she’s still studying the environment.
Training of the social actors on women land rights, and clear understanding of the informal referral path ways have supported the changes in Patricia’s life. However, ignorance of women’s land and property rights still between different people.
Greater thanks go to Action For Development (ACFODE) and OXFAM for the knowledge and skills on women land and property rights.
Compiled by Ainomugisha Harpie
Human Rights and Governance Department